Knots For Elk Hunting And Survival Situations

In all survival situations, knowledge is more important than the fanciest survival tool. You can have the best equipment that money can buy but without the knowledge of how to use the equipment it is useless.

Knot Tying









Knowledge of how to tie a few basic knots is very important. I started out learning to tie knots while in the Boy Scouts. I was fascinated with the prospect of things I could build with my new found skills.

I remember seeing a swinging bridge built with rope and wood from the forest at a local scout jamboree. That bridge inspired me to learn the knot tying skills that have served me over the years. There are so many things that you can build with rope, knowledge and imagination.

Every year my family would camp for a week on the river swamp in central Alabama. My job was to help set up camp and make it comfortable for our stay. I started off by digging a latrine and then I would lash a sapling with a back to sit on while doing our business.

 Next, I would lash together a kitchen table between two trees to hold our camp stove and to provide a work space. My next project was a gun rack that would hold all of our guns.

As you can see, learning to tie knots and to lash provided us with useful camp furniture and creature comforts. Later in life I learned specialized knots that I would use to secure packs on pack animals and build hunting camps while guiding for elk in the Rocky Mountains.

Knots are used for many camp chores, making of snares, security around your camp site, securing loads and tying animals four legged and two. Knots are also used to save lives in rescue situations.

 Because knot tying is so important, I have included instruction on a few of the most important basic knots that a person should learn.




The running end of a rope is the free or working end of a rope.

The standing end is the balance of the rope, excluding the running end.



The Square Knot

This knot is used to tie two ropes of equal diameter together.

To tie a square knot, hold each end of the rope in your hands with a tail on each one. Cross over the rope in your left hand with the rope in your right hand.

Now take the tail that you crossed over the left from the underside and cross it over the tail in your right side and through the loop created. When you pull it tight, it will appear that there are two loops with the ends of the rope coming out of the same side of the loops.


See illustration below:

square knot









I always said right over left, left over right to tie this knot. If you do right over right or left over left however, you have tied a granny knot that will come apart.


The Bowline Knot

This is one of the most secure knots when tied correctly. It is also called the rescue knot.

To tie the bowline, make a loop in the rope (1), then the running end of the rope passes around the object to be secured. Run the end of the rope through the loop (2), around the standing end of the rope(3), and back through the loop and draw it tight(4).

See illustration below:

bowline knot color









The old saying used to tie this knot is “the rabbit came out of the hole, ran around the stump and went back into the hole”.


The Clove Hitch

This is a very useful knot used to attach a rope to a pole. You can also use this knot when lashing poles together.

To tie the clove hitch at the end of a rope, the rope is passed around the pole in two turns so that the first turn crosses the standing part and the running end comes up under itself on the second turn.

See Illustration below:

clove hitch











The Half Hitch

This is useful for tying things to trees or posts.

The running end of the rope is passed around the tree or pole. The running end is brought around the standing part and back through the loop created.

Repeat the process for two half hitches.

See illustration below of two half hitches:












Shear Lashing

Lashing can be used to build shelters, furniture, bridges and many other useful things.

The shear lash can be used to make an “A” frame to support a ridge pole that can be used to support tarps or shelters.

You can use three poles to form a tripod for many uses.

Put up the desired number of poles. Usually two or three parallel to one another and the lash is started with a clove hitch on an outer pole.

The poles are wrapped with seven or eight turns loosely. The running end is then wrapped around the loops of rope between the poles and finished off with another clove hitch.

See illustration below:

shear lashing










Square Lashing

This type of lashing is used to attach a pole horizontally to trees or vertical poles.

Start the lash with a clove hitch placed under the horizontal pole. Wrap the rope over the horizontal pole, around the back of the vertical pole, back over the horizontal pole and around the vertical at the bottom.

Four wraps are enough. Now make three wraps around the ropes between the poles, draw tight and finish with a clove hitch on the top vertical pole.

See illustration below:

square lashing picture










Hopefully these knots will serve you and others well in any future elk hunting or survival situation. For more helpful and indepth tips on elk hunting visit


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